Berkeley Enacts New Building Energy Saving Ordinance

July 17, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

Effective December 1, 2015, Berkeley, California’s, Energy Saving Ordinance (Berkeley Municipal Code 19.81) will replace both the Residential and Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinances (RECO and CECO). With BESO, the RECO/CECO requirements of installing energy and water efficiency improvement measures will no longer be required. Instead, BESO requires all buildings to complete building-specific energy assessments, as well as publicly report a building’s energy and water efficiency. BESO compliance is required prior to selling a building or required based on a phase-in schedule. When selling a building, compliance can be deferred to the buyer for up to 12 months. Highly efficient buildings that have completed a qualified energy upgrade are exempt from the assessment requirement.

BESO stipulates that owners of all buildings in Berkeley must conduct an energy assessment and report on building efficiency or document high performance building status. The timing, frequency, triggers, and specific type of energy assessment is dependent on the size of the building.

BESO affects all buildings in Berkeley and requires building energy assessments to be conducted by a Registered Energy Assessor who will evaluate a building’s specific energy and water saving opportunities. Reports based on these assessments inform the building owner, as well as potential buyers and renters, of building energy performance and cost-effective opportunities for improvement. It is the building owner’s decision whether to take action on the energy and water saving opportunities and health improvements listed in the energy assessment.

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